Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 289 - In the blink of an eye, all the riches and honor had vanished like smoke (2)
The imperial noble consort suffered a great shock. One after another, the third prince's faction petitioned the emperor to plead for leniency. Ji Man didn't know the details about this course of events. When the news reached her, it was just this:
"Old Master has been removed from his official position and has to return to his hometown. Ning Errong and Young Master are divorced." After the servant from Nie Clan knelt down in front of her and reported this news, he took her money and returned to Nie Residence to pack up.
Ji Man blankly stretched her hand out, and a few snowflakes felt onto her palm. They slowly melted.
Nie Clan once had soaring influence and power. It had the imperial noble consort and the third prince supporting them. There was Nie Xiangyuan as well as all of the other members of Nie Clan stretching out in all directions. It had been like a great, towering tree. They had just been waiting for the army to triumphantly return. After that, the third prince would have been able to smoothly rise up into the crown prince position.
But, the end result was that the army had lost the battle, and it had been their clan's fault. Nie Xiangyuan had always been responsible for the armory and weapons. After Nie Xiangyuan had made such a big blunder, the only reason that the emperor hadn't ordered his execution was because of the imperial noble consort.
This great, towering tree had been cut down to its roots and was finally slowly withering away.
After Ji Man packed up a few things, she went to send her father off on his way out of the capital.
The loss of his job had forcefully aged Nie Xiangyuan. By his side, Chen-shi wouldn't stop crying. With a couple servants holding her boxes of stuff, she said she wanted Nie Qingyun to support her. She didn't want to leave the capital with her husband.
Although Nie Qingyun still had his position as an official, he decided to go with his father to his hometown, buy an estate, and help him settled down. Hearing Chen-shi's words, he only lightly smiled and said, "We can't go against the emperor's order."
Chen-shi hatefully glared at a distant carriage. Baizhi was standing by the side of the carriage.
"No wonder she wanted to get a divorce. She truly has foresight. Rats always leave a sinking ship. Why put on this pretense and come here to send us off?"
Ji Man followed her gaze over. She was looking at Errong's carriage.
In the end, she and Nie Qingyun had still divorced. Her actions had only delayed it by less than a year.
Then, could it be that Nie Sangyu's death was also only delayed? Ji Man quietly laughed.
"This daughter is lacking the power to do her filial duty. Once father has settled down, this daughter will come to pay respects," Ji Man said, "Although this daughter knows that father isn't lacking in material items, this represents this daughter's heartfelt intentions." She placed a bundle into Nie Xiangyuan's hand.
Nie Xiangyuan looked at her with a complicated expression. In the end, he sighed and said, "Take good care of yourself too."
An entire estate of concubines and their daughters were all following Nie Xiangyuan out of the capital. Right now, Chen-shi's biggest regret was that she hadn't married off the rest of the daughters when Nie Clan was in its heyday.
Who could have guessed that in an instant the unstable situation would have changed? In the blink of an eye, all the riches and honor had vanished like smoke.
Of course, a part of the imperial court changed. Originally, the imperial noble consort had already thought of how she would request the position of the crown prince from the emperor, but she quietly put that idea to rest after the results of the battle.
Ning Yuxuan had chosen a good time to leave the capital to go pray for blessings. He had completely avoided this stormy period. By the time he returned, the situation had calmed down.
"Why do you look so unwell?" Standing in the entrance, he looked at Nie Sangyu. He stretched his hand out and gently tucked a wisp of hair behind her ear.
Ji Man raised her head and looked at him. She gave a weak smile. "As I pondering about my lord and husband, I've become old. The slow carriage arrives late."
(T/N: These are lines are from the poem, the lonely bamboo slowly withers away. The poem is about a newly wedded wife missing her husband. At the end of the poem, she self-comforts herself by saying that she believes her husband will return.)
The hand that lingered by her face paused. There was a hint of mocking in Ning Yuxuan's smile, but it quickly disappeared.
"Haohao is almost one year old. Since you don't have any children of your own, I'm thinking about officially making him my heir."
Ji Man paused. She glanced at Liu Hanyun and Wen Wan, who were behind Ning Yuxuan, then she smiled and said, "My lord, if that's what you want, this servant doesn't have any objections either."
The heir was always the oldest son of the main wife, but since Marquis Moyu had said she didn't have any children, then she didn't have any other choices. It meant that she definitely wouldn't have any children in the future. After all, she couldn't reproduce by herself.
Liu Hanyun was just quietly holding Xi-er. Wen Wan was looking at her with a gaze that showed she was gloating over her misfortunate.
The purpose of the trip had been for praying for blessings for the children, but it had been a failure for Yun-er. After the long journey back to the estate, this pitiful baby seemed to be close to her last breath. From Yun-er's current appearance, Ji Man could see that this baby wouldn't have much longer to live. She just didn't know who would be blamed for Yun-er's inevitable death.
The next day, because Ji Man was on her guard over this issue, when she heard that Wen Wan was bringing over Yun-er to Feiwan Courtyard to pay respects to her, Ji Man decisively choose to flee and hide. She brought Dengxin along with her to Liu Hanyun's courtyard.
When they arrived, Liu Hanyun was playing with Xi-er. Seeing that Nie Sangyu had come, there was an estranged look in her eyes that hadn't been seen in a long time. Still, remembering Nie Sangyu's kindness and favor from long ago, she still brought over Xi-er.
Looking at her, Liu Hanyun lightly smiled and said, "Madam, although the marquis didn't bring you on this trip, he was still thinking about you. We only ended up staying there for a few more extra days because Xia-shi wasn't being sensible. She liked the hot springs there and refused to leave."
Not caring about this, Ji Man smiled and said, "That's okay. The estate was quite peaceful when there were fewer people around."
Liu Hanyun paused. She hesitantly looked at her for a while, then she said, "Madam, do you really not mind that Haohao is going to be the heir? If that happens, then if you have children in the future..."
"It's the marquis's decision, and he has the highest authority in this household. There's nothing I can do about it." Ji Man lightly smiled and stroked Xi-er's face. “Besides, it's not unreasonable to name the oldest son as the heir either, and Haohao is a well-behaved child."
Liu Hanyun pursed her lips and said, "Madam, you're very magnanimous. But, you shouldn't let yourself suffer too much. After all, men aren't dependable. It's your own child that will be the most reliable and trustworthy."
Translator Ramblings: Ji Man sees Nie Clan as a towering tree, but I think we get a hint that it’s a tree that's rotting from the inside out. Early on in the novel, the author tells us that there's been a history of corrupt family members taking for granted that the emperor favors Noble Consort Nie’s and acted badly thinking they wouldn’t be punished. Even thought the emperor had pruned some of these members away, once the Noble Consort Nie regained the emperor's favor, other family members probably started acting badly again (i.e. maybe taking bribes and accepting shoddy armor and weaponry). I think it's very suspicious that Nie Xiangyuan would rather trust Errong's father for help in procuring supplies than members of his own clan. Anyways, this is just my speculation. What do you guys think?